Verdict: John Hagee Is An Idolator
Part of how this Discernment ministry operates is taking in reader questions about prevalent teachers. Hagee was voted by our members to be the next subject of research. You can make a request here and see our answered verdicts here.
John Hagee is an American pastor, author, and televangelist known for his leadership in the evangelical Christian community. Born on April 12, 1940, in Baytown, Texas, Hagee’s life and career have been dedicated to spreading Christian teachings.
Hagee’s upbringing was deeply rooted in Christianity. He was raised in a devout Christian family and grew up attending church regularly. This early exposure to faith had a profound impact on his life and later career choices.
After completing his high school education, John Hagee pursued higher studies. He attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in History and Education. Following his undergraduate studies, he furthered his education by attending Southwestern Assemblies of God University (formerly known as Southwestern Bible Institute) in Waxahachie, Texas, where he earned a master’s degree in educational administration.
John Hagee’s career began in education. He worked as a high school science teacher before transitioning into the ministry. In 1966, he founded the Trinity Church in San Antonio, Texas, which later became known as Cornerstone Church. Under his leadership, the church experienced significant growth and became one of the largest megachurches in the United States.
Throughout his career, Hagee expanded his influence through various media outlets. He hosted a weekly television program called “John Hagee Today,” which aired nationally and internationally. This program allowed him to reach a broad audience with his Christian teachings and messages.
John Hagee is also known for his strong support of Israel and his advocacy for the Christian Zionist movement. He founded Christians United for Israel (CUFI), an organization dedicated to promoting strong US-Israel relations and providing support to Israel from a Christian perspective. His efforts in this regard have made him a prominent figure in both the Christian and pro-Israel communities.
As an author, Hagee has written numerous books on Christian theology, prophecy, and other religious topics. Many of his books have been well-received by his followers and have contributed to his reputation as a respected Christian author.
John Hagee is most known for being a Zionist. Zionism is defined as the national movement and ideology for a Jewish state in the Land of Israel. Being a Zionist, while the position is not derived from Scripture, does not make someone a false teacher, especially as Evangelicals in the United States have a tradition of Dispensational Theology. Dispensationalism, while not the position of Evangelical Dark Web, is not necessarily heresy.
With these disclaimers laid out, John Hagee turns Zionism into a false teaching for the church by taking this worldly idea and applying it to the Bible. In the commercial for the book, In Defense of Israel, John Hagee claims that the Jews did not reject Jesus as Messiah because Jesus did not appear to them as Messiah. Yet this is repeatedly through Scripture untrue. Jesus condemns the cities of Galilee (Matthew 11) for their rejection of Messiah. In Luke 7, Jesus commends the centurion for having greater faith than all of thee in Israel. Moreover, the Gospel of John places a large emphasis on the Jews trying to kill their Messiah for Jesus claiming to be God and also for pragmatic reasons.
In Defense Of Israel
John Hagee details the appeal of Zionism in his book In Defense of Israel. The book is as one would expect but the book is filled with numerous historical inaccuracies that should have been flagged by an editor. A few examples:
- John Chrysostom the first to label Jews as “Christ killers.” (20)
- Constantine made Christianity the official religion in Rome. (19)
- Conflating the Prince’s Crusade with the People’s Crusade (21)
- Gentile believers abandoned Jewish believers in Jerusalem in 70 AD (18-19)
- Connecting Martin Luther to Adolf Hitler with zero recognition of the Bolsheviks (29)
- Sigmund Freud is regarded as a celebrated figure (106)
- Jesus studied the Talmud (100)
- Jesus lived in what the Romans called Palestine (165)
- Post AD70 Jews lived “for the most part in Papal states controlled by the church of Rome.” (181)
Hagee seems to credit the split between Jewish and Gentile Christians Gentiles leaving Jerusalem prior to or during the siege led to distrust between Jews and gentiles. This is especially bad logic as the Bible refutes this narrative entirely with numerous epistles warning believers to leave Jerusalem because of the impending doom that Jesus warned about.
And from there, John Hagee laments the growing influence of Gentiles in the church, claiming that Christianity was meant to be a sect of Judaism but as the church leaders became more Gentile, so too went the faith. John Hagee says numerous times that Judaism can exist without Christianity, but Christianity cannot exist without Judaism. Hagee is willfully unaware that Modern Judaism is a newer religion than Christianity because of the development of the Talmud after 70 AD. In going along with his misconceptions about the continuity of Judaism, Hagee asserts that Jesus was the most Jewish Jew according to his understanding of post-70 AD Judaism, even claiming that Jesus studied the Talmud at age 15. The oral tradition was antithetical to the teachings of Jesus, and the Bible is quite clear that Jesus did not teach or adhere to the oral law.
Moreover, Hagee futilely tries to absolve the Jews of Christ’s death claiming with conjecture that Caiphas did not represent the will of the Jewish people. This ignores several passages in Scripture such including but not limited to John 5:18, John 7:1, and Acts 2:23. Hagee asserts that Caiaphas was acting in the interest of Herod Antipas, even though Herod found no guilt in Jesus. During this portion of the book, Hagee erroneously refers to the region as Palestine to which it would be renamed by the Romans decades later, perhaps as a means of manipulating history to absolve his favored people group. Hagee’s argument appeal to the popularity of Jesus and the unwillingness to arrest Jesus in broad daylight, but disagrees with St. John who ultimately conflates the will of Caiaphas with that of the Jews in his gospel account and St. Peter who tells the crowd at Pentecost that they were the scoffers of Christ.
Teachings On Election
John Hagee appears to teach that Jews are the elect mentioned in Romans 9, implying that Israel being “a matter of election not birth” coincides with the modern nation-state’s broadened definition of what constitutes a Jew. John Hagee, incorrectly, asserts that Romans 9-11 are a standalone thesis on Ethnic Jews as opposed to be a continued teaching from Roman 8 on the doctrine of election. John Hagee implicitly teaches that election is a matter of being Jewish, not being regenerate (50-51). This is false teaching.
Against Covenant Theology
The main thrust of his book argues against so-called Replacement Theology. He does not engage the actual premise that the church has not replaced Israel as God’s people but always was God’s people. Hagee instead argues that disgruntled “Gentiles converts” conjured a theology to elevate their position in God’s economy (179). While stating he does not believe in Dual Covenant Theology, a theology that teaches that both the Old Covenant applies to ethnic Jews and New Covenant applies to Gentiles (179), Hagee has also argued that the Old Covenant has not been ended (146), the part not ending being the land promises. Ironically, John Hagee refers to the elect as spiritual Israel (179).
Hagee asserts that had Modern Israel not been established in 1948, “there would be a valid reason for every person to doubt that the Word of God is true” (182). Logically, this would follow that for 1900 years of Christianity, there was valid reason to doubt the Word of God.
From there, Hagee employs several passages either about God’s harvest at the end of days or prophesies of the return from seventy years of exile and apply them to Modern Israel. He does not argue multiple fulfillments, instead relying Modern Israel’s agricultural success as evidence. Perhaps the distinction is that after the return from exile under the 2nd Temple, the Israelites weren’t a sovereign nation. But even this is a misnomer. The Maccabean Revolt resulted in a sovereign Jewish nation-state that lasted about 100 years. This aspect of history is dishonestly unmentioned in Hagee’s In Defense of Israel despite these events being commemorated every year by Jews, Hanukkah.
The reading of prophesy that has a strict demand for national sovereignty appears to be how Hagee shoehorns his Zionist leanings into Scripture. For instance, Hagee uses the Roman overlordship to argue that Jesus in Matthew 24 to debunk a preterist view of the prophesy of Jesus (188). Ironically, after chiding historic Christians for an allegorical reading of Scripture, Hagee employs an allegorical reading of “this generation” in Matthew 24:34. Instead of arguing that the verse applies to the all-powerful Roman Empire, Hagee attempts to make Hamas and Hezbollah the likely fulfillment Matthew 24:19-20 because the rockets take five minutes to reach Jerusalem. Needless to say, the Iron Dome has caused this to age poorly.
Hagee argues that Covenant Theology teaches that the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant. This strawman fails to recognize the fulfillment of the Old Covenant and how the prophet Jeremiah said this would happen.
31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:31-32 NASB1995
God had already fulfilled the land promises made in Genesis 15. Hagee argues that Covenant Theologians teach that God broke this covenant or doesn’t keep it. This logic would also dictate that God broke the covenant with the exiles of the northern or southern kingdoms. Moreover, this covenant would again be broken with the Siege of Jerusalem 70 AD. Yet a survey of the Old Testament shows that the Old Covenant ended in those days. The references to the Genesis 15 promises in the Old Testament was that God kept the promise, yet the disobedience of the people would cause them to lose that which God fulfilled. Jeremiah teaches that the Old Covenant was violated and looks to the New Covenant. Chronologically, the later authors of the Old Testament look back on the Old Covenant as being fulfilled by God and violated by the Israelites and then prophesy of God establishing a New Covenant. Jeremiah 31, Hosea 2:18, Ezekiel 16:60, Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:8, and many more passages all prophesy of the New Covenant, not the return of the Genesis 15 Covenant which God had already fulfilled. Indeed, the Old Testament has a preterist view of Genesis 15.
Hagee copes with this by citing passages about the coming Messiah and ignores the conditions of loving Him and keeping His commandments in Deuteronomy 7:9 to argue that God will keep his land covenant with Abraham forever (198).
In conclusion, John Hagee teaches that God has two chosen people, and that physical Israel is the Jews and Spiritual Israel is the Christians. The climax of his argument comes when he interprets Isaiah 40:1. Relying on the King James Version “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God,” John Hagee tries to delineate between the two ye’s. “There are, in fact, two groups of people in this verse. One group is being comforted, and the other is the comforter” (180). Hagee teaches that this verse means that Christians are supposed to “comfort” the Jews until the Millennial Reign. Yet Hagee’s bad faith and poor argumentation strays into heresy here.
John Hagee writes, “These two groups will merge together not one day sooner than the moment when the Reigning Messiah literally comes to the physical city of Jerusalem.” In other words, we should not preach the gospel to Jews because they will not convert until Christ returns, or during tribulation. This would explain why Hagee insists that his events be non-conversionary.
In advertising the book, John Hagee said the following:
“In Defense of Israel will shake Christian theology. It scripturally proves that the Jewish people as a whole did not reject Jesus as Messiah. It will also prove that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah. It will prove that there was a Calvary conspiracy between Rome, the high priest, and Herod to execute Jesus as an insurrectionist too dangerous to live. Since Jesus refused by word and deed to claim to be the Messiah, how can the Jews be blamed for rejecting what was never offered? Read this shocking exposé, In Defense of Israel.”
Perhaps the signed revised and updated edition bought used and in fair condition for this research did not contain the arguments advertised by Hagee as they were removed for the subsequent release. Hagee indeed does not go as far in the book to argue that Jesus never offered himself to the Jews. He does however argue that it was a Roman and Herodian conspiracy that ultimately killed Christ, against the narrative of Scripture which states that neither Pilate nor Herod found any guilt in Christ nor wanted to kill him. Hagee apparently maintains that both Jesus was popular among Jews and the group that stopped liking Jesus because the gentiles dejudaized Christianity, ignoring the entirety of the Book of Acts.
Indeed, an overall interpretive method of John Hagee is not to find Christ in every passage but to find Talmudic Jews in every passage. Hagee demonstrates a clear habit of interpreting Christ or God as Talmudic Jews which is ultimately blasphemy.
Ultimately John Hagee teaches that Christians should establish and maintain a tributary relationship with the Jewish people. This thralldom that Hagee has established for himself means comforting the Jewish people by inflating their collective egos and victim mentality. It entails not preaching the gospel to them which while comforting is properly understood as hatred for their eternal condition. All while John Hagge views himself as better than those antisemitic Christian forefathers, Hagee hates the Jews while worshipping them.
John Hagee has most certainly preached that financial prosperity is connected to giving to the church and ultimately salvation.
In a sermon in 2023 titled “The Power To Get Wealth” Hagee teaches 2 Corinthians 9:8 as a means to increase your financial standing.
Matthew 13:3 and 8, Jesus said, “Behold, a sower went out to sow, and a seed fell on good ground, and brought forth fruit, some a hundredfold, some 60, some 30”. A hundredfold actually, with a calculator, is 10.000%. Wall-Street doesn’t have that. You can’t get ahead investing at 4% money, because inflation is 5%, which means you’re losing 1% watching your money go down the drain. You need a major percentage increase to get ahead from what you’ve lost. I’ve heard people say all of my life, “Pastor, I’m so far behind financially: I’ll never catch up”. That’s not true. God made a way for you to catch up. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more, so that there will not only be enough for your needs, but plenty left over to give joyfully to others”.
He then goes on to teach that planting seeds is a covenant with God for a return.
So principle two, you must plant your seed before you can get an increase. Every person, who plants a seed in the soil, enters into a covenant with God that something good is about to happen. Ecclesiastes 3:2, there’s a time to plant and a time to pluck out what has been planted. That’s seedtime and harvest. Fact: without seedtime, it’s impossible to have a harvest. If you give nothing, you get nothing. God can increase what you give, a hundredfold, but nothing times nothing is nothing. Jesus said in John 12:24, verily, I say unto you, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground, it abideth alone and does no good”. You can hold a kernel of wheat in your fingers all of your life and it will do nothing. But the moment you drop it in the soil, life springs, and that begins to produce something many hundreds of times of what you have.
From there, Hagee teaches that God promises a financial return as the result of tithing.
The third principle, tithe. Hang onto your oxygen tank, harry: you’re going to need it. The tithe is ten percent of your income. The tithe is not a debt we owe: it’s a seed we sow. It’s the first fruits of what God has given us. And then I have people all the time say, “Preacher, you expect me to give 10% of what I make to God”? And my answer is, “Absolutely not, but God does”. I’m in sales: he’s in management. He controls your income. He controls your health. He controls your next heartbeat. He controls your mother-in-law. He controls everything. You can tick him off if you want to. But don’t stick your finger in the eye of God, and then come whining to the church about why things are not going right for you. God is the boss, period!
This is certainly beyond the point where teachings on tithing exceeds the bounds of Scripture and Hagee employs materialistic motivation to get people to buy into his teachings.
Dual Covenant Theology
John Hagee has not escaped accusations of teaching Dual Covenant Theology. In the advertisement for his aforementioned book, In Defense of Israel, what he says is certainly conducive to these accusations. Though in the book, he denies these accusations, and in the press, he had to deny these allegations also. The question of Dual Covenant Theology might, in the end, be moot.
To a large extent, John Hagee is the product of his upbringing. In his own book he describes the tears of his father when Modern Israel became a nation (10). Dispensational premillennialism, while not the viewed held by Evangelical Dark Web, is not considered heresy. However, John Hagee’s arguments for dispensationalism are made in bad faith. He has vilified heroes of the faith and conjured an unhistorical narrative to attribute malicious intent to them. He ultimately attributes the Holocaust to historic Christian teaching on Covenant Theology, unaware of the prominent threat of Judeo-Bolshevism. So rather than recognizing the rise of Nazism as a godless response to the threat of Bolshevism, John Hagee attempts to draw a straight line between Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler. Most Americans, also, lack a proper understanding of history, though perhaps Hagee is old enough to precede the prominence of this narrative. But instead, the narrative that Hagee articulates is that the church did not get it right until 1945. How familiar is this line of thinking, that the church did not “get is right until…?” Such thinking is antithetical to the Faith and incongruent with a love for the church.
The anabaptist hatred of Christendom is pervasive in American Christianity and an evident inspiration for John Hagee. Where John Hagee distinguishes himself is his entrepreneurial aspiration to build a ministry dedicated to placating Talmudic Jews in their idolatry and calling on all Christians to likewise “comfort” Jews claiming with a misinterpretation of Scripture that we have a moral obligation to do so. Such dedication should rightly be seen as worship and idolatry predicated on rather easy to identify lies about Christians and history. Based on his own advertisement for his book, John Hagee should be marked and avoided as a false teacher, but Hagee underdelivers a justification for his own practice and refuses to engage fair criticism of his teachings. Hagee’s subsequent dive into the teachings of the Prosperity Gospel is further evidence that he is indeed a false teacher.